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Reflections on the Working Group on Organizing, Social Movements, and the Academy

Rob Kleidman

As one of the organizers of this Working Group, I would like to share a few reflections and conclusions:

1. I think it is worth restating, for participants and others, the different types of collaborations that were discussed:

2. Most people said they wanted to build long-term relationships with collaborative partners, and wanted to be involved in shaping the agenda of collaborative work. One possible model for this came up in a discussion Randy Stoecker and I had, after the Working Group, with Marshall Ganz. Marshall is a former organizer and current Ph.D. student and lecturer at Harvard. He has created in the Boston area a core group of people, including academics, who want to support organizing. This core group will create or encourage a number of collaborative projects over a period of time, and will engage organizers and others in a continuing conversation about social context and trends, and organizing. Sue Lacy and I plan to create something similar in Cleveland.

3. There is no one outcome of the Working Group, but several of us agreed to discuss further possibilities. One I would like to propose is that we begin to keep track of the collaborations we do or know about. Randy Stoecker has agreed to post descriptions on the COMM-ORG web site. This could be a continuing forum and source of ideas and inspiration. You can send information to Randy at I also urge people to subscribe to the COMM-ORG listserv. This is also a forum to find new ideas, advice, and resources.

4. I welcome any further thoughts and ideas. You can contact me at: Department of Sociology; Cleveland State University; Cleveland OH 44115; (216)687-9203; Fax (216)687-9314; E-mail: